Spring training is in full swing and real live baseball will return Sunday, when the Cactus League and Grapefruit League seasons begin. As for the hot stove, only five of our top 60 free agents are unsigned at the moment. Here are Saturday’s rumors:
Padres, Brewers don’t line up for Hader trade
The Padres and Brewers have discussed All-Star closer Josh Hader at various points in recent years, but the two sides do not line up for a trade right now, reports The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Milwaukee wants young major-league players and the Padres don’t want to give them up. They presumably would rather deal prospects and keep their MLB team intact.
Hader, 26, will earn $6.675 million in 2021 and remain under team control through 2023. He has been a regular in trade rumors for over a year now as his salary climbs through arbitration. The Padres have more quality relievers than roster spots — trade deadline additions Dan Altavilla and Taylor Williams are not locks to make the roster — but they don’t have a clear-cut closer at the moment. Drew Pomeranz, Keone Kela, Mark Melancon, and Emilio Pagan all have closing experience.
Cubs re-sign Tepera
The Cubs have re-signed righty reliever and erroneous MVP vote-getter Ryan Tepera to a one-year contract, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago. Tepera will earn $800,000. Last year he threw 20 2/3 innings with a 3.92 ERA with Chicago. He received a 10th-place MVP vote as a result of a pulldown menu mishap.
Tepera, 33, rejoins a bullpen that is unsettled beyond closer Craig Kimbrel and middle relievers Andrew Chafin and Brandon Workman. Righties Adbert Alzolay and Duane Underwood Jr. must pass through waivers to go to Triple-A, all but assuring them bullpen spots. Jason Adam, Jonathan Holder, Kyle Ryan, Brad Wieck, and Dan Winkler are also vying for spots.
Angels sign Chavez
The Angels have signed right-hander Jesse Chavez to a minor league contract, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Chavez will join the team in major league spring training once he goes through intake testing. The 37-year-old spent 2020 with the Rangers, pitching to a 6.88 ERA in 17 innings, all in relief.
Alex Cobb and Jose Quintana were the club’s top two rotation pickups over the winter. Chavez, who has experience as a starter, joins a group of non-roster invitees that includes fellow swingman candidates Jake Faria, Thomas Pannone, and Dillon Peters. Even if Chavez is unable to make the Angels, being in camp allows him to showcase himself for other teams these next few weeks.
Herrera calls it a career
Right-hander Kelvin Herrera, a key member of the 2015 World Series champion Royals, has announced his retirement. “It’s a bittersweet moment for me, but after 10 MLB seasons, 2 World Series, 2 All-Star Games and 1 World Baseball Classic I am happy to call it a career and focus on my family and the next chapter of my life,” he wrote.
Herrera, who turned only 31 in December, played 10 years in the big leagues from 2011-20, including parts of eight years with Kansas City. He retires with a career 3.21 ERA in 513 2/3 innings, all in relief. From 2014-15, Herrera had a 1.26 ERA in 28 2/3 postseason innings with the Royals. He was scored upon in only three of his 22 career postseason appearances.